Saturday, April 30, 2011

Medicine Closet Organization

Here is a little organization project I got accomplished this week. I feel quite embarrassed that I let it get so bad in the first place. But looking at the finished project makes me feel all happy.

Before- How awful !

After- What a difference!

Cinnamon Rolls

 These are the best Cinnamon Rolls, if I do say so myself. I made them this morning for breakfast for some good friends who came  by for breakfast.  They do take quite a bit of time but I think the dough could probably be made the night before and after the cinnamon rolls are shaped in the pan, before the second rising be refrigerated until morning.
As I'm looking at this picture I realize  that I was a little sloppy with the frosting. These really taste   a lot better than they look :)

Cinnamon Rolls
 1 cup warm milk                                       
 1/2 cup granulated sugar
 1/3 cup margarine
 1 teaspoon salt
 2 eggs
 4 cups flour
 2 1/2 tsp dry yeast

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
 2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/3 cup margarine, softened

1/3 cup  margarine
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

Bread machine instructions:
This is how I make the dough in order to save some hands on time.
Combine  Milk, sugar, margarine, salt, eggs, flour and yeast in Bread machine in order given by manufacturer. Run a dough cycle. My machine takes an hour and a half for a dough cycle, then  I follow the regular instructions starting with rolling out dough into rectangle ( step ***)

- For the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl.
Add sugar, margarine salt, eggs, and flour, mix well.
-Knead the dough into a large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour.
-Put in a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
***Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approx 21 inches long by 16 inches wide.
It should be approx 1/4 thick.
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-To make filling, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
-Spread the softened margarine over the surface of the dough, then sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over the surface.
-Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge.
-Cut the dough into 1 3/4 inch slices, and place in a lightly greased baking pan. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled .
-Bake for 10- 15 minutes or until light golden brown.
-While the rolls are baking combine the icing ingredients.Beat well with an electric mixer until fluffy.
-When the rolls are done, spread with icing.

Bowtie Festival

I had this wonderful dish at a local Italian restaurant a few years ago and just loved it. Then I searched for a possible Copycat recipe online and now we can eat it at home any time we want to. Usually I just use some leftover rotisserie chicken or any leftover chicken I happen to have in the Fridge or the Freezer.

Bowtie Festival

4 Tbsp melted butter
2 tsp chopped fresh garlic
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced cooked bacon
1/2 cup diced Roma tomatoes
2 cups sliced, cooked chicken ( I usually use any leftover chicken, sliced)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 jar Alfredo sauce or make your own and use about 1- 1 1/2 cups
1/4 cup Asiago cheese grated, fresh Parmesan works as well, just not the powdery stuff
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic salt
16 ounces precooked bowtie noodles ( I didn't have any Bowtie noodles, so I used tri- color rotini this time around )

In a heated sauté pan combine butter, garlic, onions, bacon, tomatoes, chicken, and spice mixture.  When onions begin to turn translucent, add heavy cream and Asiago cheese.  Once cheese and cream have reduced by half, add Alfredo sauce and bowtie pasta.  Toss until well combined and remove from heat.  Allow to cool for a few minutes so the cheese and sauce thicken. This will
serve 6. We will usually have some nice bread with this, maybe a salad or some steamed veggies.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Menu # 5

This is what we will eat this week. I will post recipes throughout the week. This will be a busy week so we will have quite a few Crock Pot recipes.

Banana Bread
No Bake Bars

Eggs with Toast

Grilled Cheese, Tomato Soup

Monday: DD #2 makes Chicken Alfredo Pizza ( didn't have that last week), Salad, Bread sticks, Cookies
Tuesday: Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup, Rolls, Fruit Salad
Wednesday: Bowtie Festival, Salad, Rolls
Thursday: DD # 1 cooks
Friday: Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Rice ( Noodles for DH), Steamed Veggies, Salad
Saturday: Lentils with Onions and Tomatoes ( Crock Pot), Spaetzle, Ice cream
Sunday: German Goulash Soup ( Crock Pot), Rolls, Salad, Carrot Cake

Sunday, April 24, 2011

On The Go Breakfast

Since my dear, sweet son #2 takes forever to get ready in the morning I am always on the lookout for a quick, make ahead, eat on the go kind of breakfast. When I came across this wonderful looking recipe I couldn't wait to try it. After some changes to the original recipe this is what I ended up with.

 No-Bake Rice Krispy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

  2 1/4- 2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies
    2 1/4 cups quick-cooking oats                                    
    1/2    cup brown sugar, packed
    1/2 cup  honey, or 1/2 cup Corn Syrup
    3/4 cup  peanut butter
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
    3/4 cup dark raisin, or a combination of different baking chips, nuts, dried fruit
    ( I used  about 1/2 cup golden raisins and  1/4 cup craisins)
    1/2 cup chocolate chips, semi- sweet, milk chocolate or white chips will all work. I used a combination of leftover baking chips.


    - lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
    - In a large bowl combine Rice Krispies cereal, oats and raisins, nuts ( if using).
    - In a saucepan stir the  honey or corn syrup  and brown sugar until just at a boil.
    - Immediately remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla and stir until well    combined.
    - Pour over the dry ingredients in the bowl; mix to combine.
    - Mix in chocolate chips (if using).
    - Transfer the mixture into prepared baking dish, then using slightly wet hands push evenly down into the pan.
    - While the mixture is still soft take a sharp knife and slice into desired size bars.
    - Chill until firm.  This post is linked to Tasty Tuesday,
Tuesday at the Table

Friday, April 22, 2011

Banana Bread

I know, not very pretty, but they make the best Banana Bread ;)
This has been an interesting week with the stomach bug making a second appearance in our family within a  month. I haven't really felt like cooking or baking much this week. Since we were sick two weeks ago and missed our Special Assembly Day  we are going tomorrow. That means an early start (around 7am), a longish drive of about 1 1/2 hours and a long and exciting day. Since I had some Bananas that were starting to turn to ripe to just eat and we need a quick breakfast on the go for tomorrow I decided to bake some Banana Bread. This recipe will make two large loaves or three smaller ones.

Banana Bread
 Substitutions I make are in ( )                                                                                    
    2 cups sugar ( Sometimes I use 1 cup white and 1 cup brown sugar)
    1 cup shortening ( 1/2 cup of coconut oil and 1/2 cup shortening)
    5-6 bananas, mashed
    2 teaspoon vanilla
    4 eggs
    3 cups flour  ( 1 1/2 cups all purpose, unbleached and  1 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour)
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    2/3 cup walnuts, chopped
    1/2 cup mini chocolate chips ( Sometimes I substitute dark chocolate, chopped)

    1 Mix all the wet ingredients together until smooth.
    2 Add the dry ingredients and mix well.
    3 Fold in the nuts.
    4 Pour into  greased loaf pans.
    5 Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

This post is linked to Tasty Tuesday

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chicken Pasta Primavera

I found this recipe years ago in a  Taste of Home Quick Cooking magazine. We all love it and it's a snap to prepare. I always double the recipe for the six of us, and there are never any leftovers.


    2 cups uncooked spiral pasta
    1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 package (16 ounces) frozen broccoli-cauliflower blend, thawed
    3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
    3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper


    Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute chicken in butter until chicken is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add the vegetables and cream; cook until vegetables are tender.
    Drain pasta. Add the pasta, cheese, salt and pepper to skillet; cook and stir until heated through. Yield: 4 servings.

This post is linked to Tuesdays At The Table
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday,  Tasty Tuesday

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Weekly Menu # 4

This weeks menu consists mainly of things I have in my freezer as we are trying to empty it out. We got our chest freezer over 20 years ago and lately it's been acting it's age. So the mission, should I accept it, is to empty my freezer as much as possible and by next month DH and I will go and buy a new, hopefully energy efficient one.
  I have lots of chicken in my freezer, so that will dominate our meals this week.

Granola with Yoghurt
Cereal with milk
Eggs and Toast

Soup/ Sandwiches

Dinner :
Monday: DD# 2 cooks Chicken-Pasta-Primavera  Rolls, Veggies
Tuesday: Family size chicken burrito, Rice, Salad
Wednesday: Crock Pot Chili with Cornbread
Thursday: DD # 1 cooks??? something with Chicken
Friday: BLT's , baked fries, Salad
Saturday: Chicken Alfredo Pizza, Bread sticks, veggies with dip
Sunday: Company Pork Roast, gravy,  Roasted Potatoes and Carrots, some Home made Bread

I will post recipes and pictures throughout the week.
For  more menu ideas check out orgjunkie Menu Monday

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spreadable Butter and Breadcrumbs

My DH really likes his " Tub butter". That is what the kids and I call it, but it really is the margarine in the big tubs. In an effort to rid our kitchen of highly processed, artificial foods I started to buy good old butter. The only problem is, that butter is incredibly difficult to spread on a nice, soft piece of bread without first nuking it in the microwave or leaving it sit on the counter for a while to soften it. In casual conversation with one of my good friends she told me how her new husband taught her to make her own spreadable butter. Of course my ears perked up and I immediately got the recipe and instructions. Well, it is so easy that I believe we found a natural solution to our " Tub butter" problem. It also seems like a good way to stretch a pound of pretty expensive butter. So without further ado here is the recipe

1 pound ( or four sticks)  butter, softened              
3/4 cup Canola oil
Whip butter until fluffy, using a mixer, food-processor, or by hand. Add oil slowly. Whip until all the oil is blended with the butter. Put in a Tupperware or similar container. This needs to stay refrigerated, or so I'm told, or it will separate. I made my first batch of this today and it is in the fridge right now, but I am anxious to try it .
The finished product. 

My other Kitchen project today was to make some breadcrumbs. My family is somewhat picky when it comes to eating the end pieces of a loaf of bread, so in order to reduce food waste I either put those pieces in the oven after I bake something ( with the oven turned off) or I leave the bread lay on the counter for a day. When the bread is nice and dry I just use my food- processor or my brand new NINJA  and process until I have breadcrumbs. I then put them in a jar in the freezer until I need them. Sometimes I even add some Italian seasoning or other seasonings to make flavored breadcrumbs. Simple, I know, but it always makes me feel thrifty when I pull out my jar of breadcrumbs. Use as you would the expensive store bought kind :)

this post is linked to Frugal Friday

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rich And Creamy Mac And Cheese

We try to make some meatless meals a week. Some weeks we will have a few, some weeks we will have none. I consider it a success if we have one meatless meal a week. My DH is a meat and potatoes kind of man, and it has taken me quite a few years to convince him that it's O.K. to eat a meal without meat once in a while. One of our favorites is this Mac and Cheese recipe. It seems to have enough substance to make everyone feel satisfied and it's not out of a box.( Not that there is anything wrong with the boxed kind, but I really like cooking from scratch)

Rich and Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

    3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
    6 tablespoons butter or 6 tablespoons margarine, divided
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon sugar
    2 cups milk
  8 ounces process American cheese, cubed
1 1/3 cups small curd cottage cheese
    2/3 cup sour cream
    2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

   1 1/2 cups soft breadcrumbs


- Cook Macaroni according to package directions, drain.
- Place in a greased 2 1/2 quart baking dish.
- In a saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter.
- stir in flour, salt and sugar until smooth.
- Gradually stir in milk, bring to a boil ; cook for 2 minutes until thickened.,.
 -Reduce heat; stir in American cheese until melted. Stir in cottage cheese and sour cream.
- Pour over macaroni
- Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter and toss with bread crumbs; sprinkle over top.
- Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

This post is linked to Cooking Thursday, 
                               Ultimate Recipe Swap

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are very good. And with chocolate I always feel  the more the better!

Chocolate chocolate chip cookies

  2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 cup butter or margarine, softened
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 (4 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
    2 large eggs
    1 (12 ounce) package chocolate chips


- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Mix flour with baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine butter, sugars and pudding mix.
- Beat until smooth and creamy.
- Beat in eggs and vanilla; gradually add flour mixture.
 -Stir in chocolate chips
- Roll into balls and flatten slightly or drop by teaspoon full on a non greased cookie sheet.
I used a small ice cream ( cookie ? ) scoop and just heaped them on the baking sheet.
- Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes.

This post is linked to
-Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
-Tasty Tuesday

Monday, April 11, 2011

The American Grinder

My oldest Daughter works in a Deli and last year she came home after work one day and was talking about this sandwich she had made that day. She said it looked and smelled so good while she made it and so she wanted to make some the next time it was her turn to cook. We all loved it, so the American Grinder has become a regular guest on our Spring and Summer menu. You can add or leave off ingredients as you like, but this is the version we like.
1 loaf french bread, cut in half horizontally
Lettuce leaves
10 slices deli Turkey
10 slices deli Ham
10 slices Colby Jack cheese, sometimes we use sliced Cheddar
Sliced Tomatoes, however many you like
Pickle slices, again personal preference dictates how many
Banana Pepper slices
We don't use Mayo, but if you want to you can.
Assemble sandwich in order in which ingredients are listed between the french bread halves. Enjoy! One Sandwich and some sides will usually feed the six of us.

Yum Yum!    

Weekly Menu #3

This week life will hopefully be returning to normal. DS#2 was on Spring break last week and that is enough to cause somewhat of a upheaval. DS # 1 is an Online school freshman and his break was the week before. He had worked through his break in hopes that he would be able to take off last week as well, but things didn't work out that way. He had quite a bit of make up work to do, so he ended up working most of last week. I will spare you details of arguments and discussions we had, but be assured I'm glad all is back to the usual this week. We did o.k. eating our planned meals most days except our museum day. On the way home we decided to eat out at one of our favorite restaurants, yum!
This weeks Menu:
                                                          Pancakes with fruit and milk

Baked Oatmeal, fruit, Milk
Cereal, Fruit, Milk
Eggs, Toast, Fruit, Milk
Bagels, Cream cheese, Milk
Various Sandwiches, veggies
Monday: DD# 2 makes American Grinders, Chips, Veggies with Dip, Cookies

Tuesday: Crock Pot Potato Chowder, Rolls
Wednesday: Hamburgers , dusting off the Grill ;) Home Made Buns, Potato Salad, Coleslaw
Thursday: DD#1 cooks ?????
Friday: Home Made Mac and Cheese, Salad
Saturday: Family night- Pizza and fixings
Sunday: Crock Pot Stew, Home Made Bread

This Post is linked to Org. Junkie's Menu Plan Monday

Friday, April 8, 2011

Day At The Museum

We arrived at about 10:30 am, and everyone was full of energy :)
 This week is spring break for us, and since neither our schedule or finances allowed for a big trip we decided to have at least one special get away day. DH was able to get of Thursday and both Girls were free as well, so we packed a lunch and loaded up the van and started heading towards Denver for a long day at the Museum of Nature and Science. We have a Membership for the Museum so it could have been a free activity, but we decided to splurge and visit the special Pirate's exhibit and the Imax. We had a fun day and it gave us a chance to spend some family time together.
Walking down the Hallway of a spaceship to get to the Space exhibit.

A big, rotating Earth tested our knowledge of Geography

Here's some proof that we are a hot blooded family.After the space exhibit we were off to the IMAX for the 3D version of " The Hubble". It was amazing and awe- inspiring to see the greatness of God's creation through one of mans inventions. After the Imax we were all kind of hungry, so we decided to have lunch.

We came across this friendly looking fellow advertizing the " Real Pirates" exhibit. He was nice enough to let us take our picture with him ;)

Since we still had about 45 minutes until we could get into the Pirates exhibit, we decided to pay the Dinosaurs a quick visit.

After a most interesting time in the Real Pirates exhibit and a quick trip to the life exhibit we were all worn out and ready to head home.